The Humanness of the Job: The COVID-19 Fall Semester

Sponsored by Taylor & Francis

Recorded on 11/23/2020
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 167

How much have we learned about COVID-19 since February or March? Chances are, we’re no longer sanitizing our groceries or stockpiling gloves (if we ever were). No matter how much we prepare, as we know more, we adjust. New information calls for recalibration and flexibility.

Sarah Copeland of the University of Tennessee Chattanooga and Lauren Magnuson of California State University San Marcos quickly discovered which plans worked and which didn’t. As they progressed further into the fall semester, each librarian had to rethink her library’s original strategy. Do we need to keep charging for late fees? Do students really want contactless locker delivery? Who should be the ones sanitizing computer lab keyboards and mice?

In this third episode, Sarah and Lauren dive into the everyday of the fall semester, and the quick decisions that were necessary to keep workflows efficient and patrons safe. They also reflect on the transformation of work culture, and what’s been lost in the process. The stress of the pandemic and the lack of interacting face-to-face with your coworkers take its toll. As Sarah notes, “You forget how important some of the day-to-day check-ins and casual interactions are for just helping everything go smoother.”


About the guests:

Sarah Shippy Copeland
Director, Desks and Patron Experience
University of Tennessee Chattanooga

Lauren Magnuson
Head of Collections, Delivery and Access
California State University San Marcos


Enjoy the episode? Check out the others in the series: